1) If a RN vessel were to capture a merchantman belonging to their own country after that vessel had already been captured (say, two days before - I read something about a "48 hour rule") by a French frigate, would it be a lawful prize or not?
2) What if said vessel were a smaller RN vessel? Say, a French frigate captured a sloop or brig, then two days later, the two ships ran into a squadron of British ships, and the sloop or brig was re-captured while the frigte escaped - would that sloop or brig be a lawful prize?
3) Does it matter if the commander of the (re)captured vessel is dead or otherwise unable to reassume command of his ship?
4) Assuming these vessels are indeed prizes, when the captain of the capturing vessel sends his prize crew aboard the prize to take her into port, does the officer in charge of the prize crew command all operations, or does he defer to the prize's original officers (say in matters of sailing, discipline, etc.)?
Any light you can shed on the subject would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!